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Archives for Chile Geography

Keep Your Hemispheres Straight!

It’s not just whether the North Star or the Southern Cross governs the night sky. There are hemispherical differences that go beyond climate or weather concerns, and how clocks are set in relative countries; people in Chile should especially be aware of them.

I just chuckle every time I have to deal with ignorant people, especially school teachers, that say things like “Christmas is in winter” or that June 20th (or is it the 21st?) is the “longest day of the year.” Someone needs to explain to them the difference between the northern and southern hemispheres. Yet so many teachers do not even “get” such basic stuff. So, how can we expect that their students will? I just ran into this issue again today with a “white Christmas” slide show presented by an online academy.

With so much misinformation how can we possibly expect students to know other more crucial and insightful things that require interpretation of facts and some analysis when we teach them incorrect “facts”? How can they possibly evaluate whether the U.S. government’s story about 9/11 is true, for instance?

Christmas is in the summer for many millions of people, at least twelve percent of the world’s population, living in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and many other countries. It is certainly not “white” (except maybe on beaches in Tahiti, Samoa or Fiji) or “cold.” And for them it is in summertime–when Christmas Day is very long, too!

It is also worth mentioning that around forty percent of the world’s population live in the tropics, with no significant seasons or snow whatsoever, except perhaps a very high altitudes such as in the altiplano of Chile, Peru and Bolivia, or a couple of peaks in Hawaii. The vast majority of them may have never seen a snowfall, let alone a white Christmas.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Planned and Actual Improvements to Chile’s Southern Highway

One of the biggest infrastructure problems in Chile has been reaching isolated towns in the deep south. Now that Douglass Tompkins is dead and his lands are passing to the Chilean government, it will be more feasible to put a highway through from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales.

There are already stretches of paved road along the trajectory, but there are far more stretches that still have gravel and far more that are not built at all. There are so many islands and impediments due to the massive ice and glacial presence along the way that construction will be formidable. Many bridges will be needed and it looks as if, at least under the current proposal, ferries will not be eliminated. Some places along the long route, Ruta 7, will still need to have them.

 El Mercurio pagina C7 14 feb 2016 Careterra Austral

According to an article in El Mercurio, Sunday, February 14, 2016 (page C7), the total route length will be 1,170 kilometers and will feature 269 bridges, connecting 120,000 Chileans in the southern 10th Region and 11th Region to the rest of the country. These people often live without dentists and regular medical care, not to mention most of the comforts of life commonplace in Santiago and Viña del Mar, as well as Concepción and La Serena.

Electricity is not a given, nor is a variety of food and shelter. I consider many of them to be true pioneers living on the frontier, with many self-sufficiency skills. Other than tourism and some fishing or forestry, there are few industry, farming or employment possibilities in much of this vast stretch of land.

Life is cheap, and simple, other than when one has to buy shipped-in goods. For some self-sufficient newcomers that do not mind cold and rain, and that love natural beauty, it might be a good possible spot for relocation. This fact is especially true now that the government will be working on finishing the road, giving access to medical care, pharmacies, trucks to bring goods, etc.

It will also be a wonderful and spectacular drive once finished. Chileans driving south at present have to drive most of the route through to Puerto Natales via Argentina. The road will be expensive but I think it will be a long term boon to Chile and provide many more opportunities to exploit and develop natural resources and make Chile more prosperous.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

8.4 Earthquake in Central Chile (September 16, 2015)

Anyone who was not a true believer in Chilean construction quality before, sure must be now.

On September 16, 2015, just before 8 p.m. (the sun had recently set), central Chile was struck by a powerful 8.4 Richter Scale earthquake, followed shortly thereafter by major aftershocks on that scale of 7.6, 7.2 and 6.7. The epicenter was about 95 miles north of where I live in Viña del Mar and close to the same distance south of La Serena. It was strongly felt in Santiago, too.

The shaking lasted between two and three minutes–quite a long time. Tsunamis of one to four meters hit the Chilean central coast within two hours, causing considerable damage in some places, including Concón just north of Viña del Mar, Tongoy and other parts of the Coquimbo Region.

Several people died from heart attacks, and a few people died in older towns when adobe structures caved-in on them. Still, the total death toll stands at a surprisingly low 11 people. Earthquakes of much smaller magnitudes in other countries have killed hundreds and thousands of people.

A couple hundred older structures in smaller cities like Illapel were damaged or destroyed, and structures in villages along the coast were damaged or destroyed by the tsunami waves. Some villages had power outages. In the country’s main urban centers of Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaíso and in La Serena there was no significant damage and no loss of power. The Internet never stopped working. Cell phones stayed online as well, and the government sent out tsunami evacuation warnings via cell phone service.

Now, 72 hours after the earthquake, there have been a total of 340 aftershocks. It shakes about once every ten minutes on average. Most of these aftershocks have been between 3 and 5,5 on the Richter Scale. However, some have been larger. Ten have been between 5.5 and 5.9 on that scale, ten more between 6.0 and 6.9, and two have been over 7.

To say that Central Chile has been rocking and rolling is an understatement. But the country is well prepared for seismic activity and life has continued on normally since the shaking started.

What other country in the world has a completely normal business day following an 8.4 quake and two aftershocks over 7? That’s a rhetorical question obviously. The number is zero.

The interesting thing is that the international press says that since the big quake in 2010, Chilean quake standards or building quality has gone up a lot. They have risen but were already high enough. Things are obviously solid in Chile. Indeed, there has been no significant damage to places that I know of whatsoever. One friend of mine in Santiago commented: “It is amazing isn’t it? I honestly felt no fear last night. Just slept through the aftershocks. Chileans do some things VERY well.” I could not agree more. My business day after the earthquake was 100% normal, as if there were no catastrophic earthquake the previous night.

My friend continued: “I watched from my terrace window as things shook. Transformers were blowing up all over the city of Santiago. Huge balls of fire and a cascade of sparks. Yet there were no blackouts. So, obviously, there is a lot of redundancy built into the grid.  It can take a lot of punishment and not go down. Amazing…” He continued, “I think it is really hard for people outside of Chile to understand how violent these quakes are. Yet, it is equally difficult for the same people to understand that a country can be prepared and fend off the worst of it. I think one has to experience it firsthand to really get it.”

Funny how many Americans just assume that their building quality standards are as high or higher than Chile’s. But they are not. Earthquake danger is much higher in North America, New Zealand or Europe than in it is in Chile. When it comes to earthquakes, Chileans do not mess around, and they are trained from an early age to be prepared.

In recent years, much smaller earthquakes in New Zealand, Haiti, Italy and California have had a devastating impact on lives lost and property damaged. In fact, these earthquakes were smaller than several of the aftershocks we have experienced in the last few days.

I watched with dismay as the Fox News reporter started talking about the assumed horrible impact of this quake in Chile, just judging by the scale score and not considering that Chile is prepared to withstand such quakes. He must have been really let down to find out that not much transpired as a result of the earthquake. Chile is simply not a sensational story when it comes to seismic activity.

The tallest building in South America, Costanera Center, swayed back and forth, creating a horrifying experience for people up high (see the You Tube videos of the experience). But in the end the building withstood the earthquake. It all makes for interesting conversation the next day but not much more.

By the way, right now would be a good time to buy apartments or condos on higher floors, since they always sell for less immediately after a big earthquake. At any rate, newcomers have little need to worry about surviving earthquakes in Chile. The country is prepared for them. Several newcomers in Viña del Mar were of course startled by the massive earthquake, but I am sure have by now been quite impressed with how their new country has handled the situation.

Postscript: I am updating this post 56 hours later for those that are interested in the statistics. Since the time of the original post we have had another 223 aftershocks, one every 15 minutes. Seven of them (3%) have been 5.5 Richter Scale or over: 5.5, 6.2, 6.0, 6.7, 5.8. 6.0, 6.2. Some of them have been quite jolting, enough to make one start or wake a person up. The total number of aftershocks through 5 a.m. Chile time on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 (128 hours after the earthquake), has been 563, of which 29 (5%) have been between 5.5 and 7.6 on the Richter Scale. On average, we have been having a large aftershock once every 4.4 hours and aftershocks of at least 3 Richter Scale have come every 13.6 minutes on average. For the last week, one has really experienced the earth moving under his feet!

In terms of damage to older buildings, mainly in poorer, coastal villages in the 4th and 5th Regions, 814 were completely destroyed and 1,005 we severely damaged according to this report, with 13,427 people claiming to have been damaged by the earthquakes and tsunami. Just 13 hours shy of one week from the time of the earthquake (6.5 days), another 71 smaller aftershocks above 2.5 Richter Scale had been registered, bringing the total to 634. One week from the time of the earthquake, another 146 smaller aftershocks above 2.5 Richter Scale (almost all above 3.5) had been registered, bringing the total to 699, one every 14.4 minutes on average, although most cannot be felt.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they
would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Reñaca Beach (5th Region) in April

Viña del Mar has a lot going for it but there is probably nothing better than its beach areas. The boardwalks shoreline parks have all been nicely redone recently. Reñaca beach, sector of town on the north end of Viña del Mar, is case in point.

And there is no better month of the year in central Chile than April: sunny, no rain all month, warm (but not hot, 18°C or 65°F), perfect for an afternoon stroll. On this day (12th) of the middle of April 2014, while most Americans are being beleaguered by the taxman and its oppressive regime, this former America was taking in the sights and the good life! There happened to be a fire over Valparaíso as seen in the image below. In fact, it was the beginning of the fire that burned over two thousand homes and made international headlines.

Some of the well-done amenities along the shore and some of the classic stair-step architecture can be seen in these images. No crowds this time of year. Beach vendors are squeaking out a living.

For many residents that live on the hills above Reñaca (or Recreo or Valparaíso), getting to the beach requires some effort. The images below were taken from step number 106 out of 168! Of course the 30 meters of rise (100 feet) is a comfortable number when the tsunami sirens sound!

A cruise ship can be seen in the distance, leaving the port of Valparaiso.

Hope your day is great, and whether it is or not just remember you are only a flight away from relative freedom!

    Chile is a freer place than most countries and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

Marine Layer on the Chilean Coast

Having grown up on the Southern California coast (Santa Monica, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach), I got used to the frequent “marine layer” of clouds and sometimes fog that crept onshore most days.

The marine layer hardly ever extended past 5 miles inland, and served to keep the coastal communities far cooler than inland counterparts. For instance, Woodland Hills, Pasadena or Riverside might be 100°F while coastal cities remained at 80°F. The marine layer is produced when the cold Pacific Ocean water hit the desert mainland, rolling in late at night and not “burning off” until around 11am to 2pm the next day. It was especially prominent in certain months and for this reason was often termed “the June gloom.”

Central Chile is in many ways a mirror image of Southern California. While Santiago may have sunny 85°F to 90°F days throughout the summer and fall, coastal communities in the 5th Region, such as Viña del Mar, will have highs in the 60°Fs and be covered by the marine layer, whose name in Spanish is vaguada costera.

The main difference in Chile is that it does not burn off so quickly. In fact, sometimes it stays all day, making places like Viña del mar somewhat dreary. Nonetheless, the quality of life in Viña is marvelous and anyone coming to Chile should consider living there as an option in spite of the pesky marine layer. At least it keeps you cool!

     Chile is a freer place than most countries and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on theOverseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

A Press Battle with Leftist Douglas Tompkins

In a recent exchange, I exposed Douglas Tompkins’ practice of billing himself as an ecologist, when his practices amount to nothing more than gaining power, profits and status at the expense of those without the means to defend themselves. This leftist succeeds in preserving nature, but poor people get hurt in the process as he helps fellow leftists buy in and trample any landowners unfortunate enough to stand in his way.

You can read much about this in a thread with my initial letter criticizing Tompkins and the response they published today rebutting his attack on me on Saturday are linked below. I have been in a big fight with Douglas Tompkins. Check out the press:
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/13/full/9/
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/18/full/11/
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/20/full/9/

This points to another reason it would be advantageous to have more libertarian minded people join us in Chile. The voice of freedom rings loud in Chile, but sometimes gets drowned out by cronyistic practices of maxists bent on self promotion at the expense of all others. This happens in all countries, to one degree or another. Chile is still much more free than any western country. And this is why I continue to ask freedom lovers to come to Chile and help make a difference.

 

 

 

Mi amigo Tompkins

Aunque sean muy distintas en sus prácticas, los izquierdistas mundiales comparten un rasgo común de intolerancia, deseando eliminar su competencia. Desde Stalin y Mao, Lincoln y Tito, hasta Castro, Mandela, Chávez, Fernández de Kirchner y Tompkins, todos abrazan la idea de remover brutalmente a los que se les oponen, cuestionando su capacidad o cargo públicamente. (Si esto no es suficiente, puede encarcelársele, exiliarlo o matarlo). En el caso de Tompkins, le alabé recientemente por tener un parque de primera calidad y por practicar su medioambientalismo de libre mercado. No obstante, saqué a la luz la realidad de Tompkins y ahora él está pidiendo guillotina para mí, atacándome personalmente en su carta al director del 18 de enero. Jamás confesará que hay ganancias personales en su proyecto Pumalín—en forma de fama, dinero y poder. Finge ser ecologista para ganar, menospreciando a vecinos como Gregorio Enrique Godoy de la Vega, dañando a gente pobre sureña, al oponerse a la construcción de un camino vital que los conecte con el resto de Chile, bajando precios y llevando servicios que hoy escasean.
Tompkins declaró en su libro «La Carretera Austral» (2012): “Desde antaño los caminos han sido la vanguardia de la civilización—el medio de expansión de los asentamientos humanos, permitiendo el transporte del comercio y facilitando el intercambio cultural” (página 25). No obstante, en los párrafos que siguen, postula las razones por las qué chilenos del extremo sur deberían estar privados de tales beneficios, basándose mayormente en mitos de sobrepoblación (“abarrotada de gente”) y su visión miope de un mundo “súperdesarrollado”—vista seguramente desde su mansión del Primer Mundo, no desde Villa O’Higgins o La Junta.
¿Cuál es el motivo que subyace la prohibición de construir la carretera entre Hornopirén y Chaitén? ¿No es maximizar las utilidades de un hipócrita izquierdista que promulga miedos basados en fantasías de demasiado desarrollo o excedente de gente? La Izquierda frecuentemente se aprovecha de la miseria de los demás y es intolerante con los que piensan distinto. Como neoliberal, tolero diferencias de opinión con mis colegas universitarios, a diferencia de mi “primo” Tompkins, que no solamente está dispuesto a aplastar a sus vecinos, sino también a cualquier humilde académico que alce una crítica.

John Cobin, Ph.D. (Public Policy)
Académico
Facultad de Economía y Negocios

Pumalín y el interés del pueblo

Ser izquierdista, aunque solo sea una pantalla, puede ser muy rentable. Considere a Douglas Tompkins, norteamericano izquierdista, supuestamente ecologista y filántropo, con patrimonio de 150 millones de dólares y dueño de más de 2 millones de hectáreas patagónicas. Ha establecido el Land Conservation Trust, ayudado por partidarios abogados de Santiago y Puerto Varas, para proteger sus derechos en el uso del nombre “Pumalín” y oponerse a la idea de un camino pavimentado para conectar Chaitén con Puerto Montt, vía que pasaría por Parque Pumalín, X Región.
No tengo ningún problema con el capitalismo ni tampoco con las ganancias. El lucro está bien, ya sea en educación o conservación de recursos naturales. Me agrada especialmente que izquierdistas usen su propia plata para la conservación—algo así como un medioambientalismo de libre mercado. Sin embargo, me molesta la astucia de personas que fingen ser ecologistas para ganar plata. Prefiero comerciantes honestos.
Tompkins hace todo de primera en Parque Pumalín: campings espectaculares, senderos bien diseñados, céspedes perfectos en El Amarillo, negocios de campo con precios parisinos como un café en Caleta Gonzalo y una tienda con bencinera en El Amarillo—cuyas lentejas y galletas cuestan el doble que el Jumbo La Dehesa. Con todo esto, sigue intentando acaparar propiedades pequeñas como las de Gregorio Enrique Godoy de la Vega, dueño de termas privadas y Bed and Breakfast cerca de El Amarillo. Se comenta que está ofreciendo vender grandes parcelas de su Parque, en millones de dólares. Recuperará rápidamente su inversión en “conservación”. Leí las cartas en que Godoy estuvo amenazado por los abogados. El modesto hombre, que mueve su microempresa con luz de generador aluvial, sin internet y teléfono, me dijo que Tompkins le prometió acceso de tránsito a sus termas, pero no cumplió. Él cree que el gringo es un “chanta” que solamente quiere forzarle a vender su propiedad y termas, no para preservar la naturaleza, sino para aumentar su poder monopólico y el precio de las expansivas parcelas que vende. El mismo motivo subyace la prohibición de construir la carretera desde Osorno: llenar el bolsillo de hipócritas izquierdistas que fingen apoyo al interés público. Lamentablemente, la masa es ignorante de tal artimaña. Entonces, ¿Quién defiende los intereses del pueblo?

John Cobin, Ph.D. (Public Policy)
Académico
Facultad de Economía y Negocios

Waterfall Bend

I have been in 70 countries and literally every town in Chile with more than 500 inhabitants (probably every town with more than 300 inhabitants), with the single exception of Isla Juan Fernández (population 812), about 1,000 kilometers to the west (off the coast) of Valparaíso. I have seen a lot of waterfalls around the world, not just the famous ones of Yosemite Valley (California), Niagara (New York/Ontario) and Iguazú (Brazil/Argentina), but all sorts of others in Chile, Argentina, Perú, Ecuador, Guatemala, New Zealand, India, the USA, Canada, Central Europe and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I cannot remember seeing any waterfall display as impressive as the area of the Chilean rainforest that I have called “Waterfall Bend,” located in the north central 11th Region. If you look on a map of Chile in this region and find Puerto Cisnes and then look north to the town of Puyuhaupi, you will get your bearings right to locate Waterfall Bend. As one heads south from Puyuhuapi there is a right turn toward Puerto Cisnes. Waterfall Bend zone starts about 15km north of this turn and continues for perhaps 15km afterwards. A prime example is The Cóndor Waterfall right in the middle of the bend, pictured below.

Many other falls are also seen.


One has no doubt about the intensity of the rainforest by looking at the summertime foliage along the road.

The amazing thing is the sheer number of waterfalls. On New Year’s Day 2014 (summertime), we counted from the pickup truck an incredible 153 of them while going around this Bend, which is 5.1 per kilometer or 8.25 per mile. I had never seen anything like it before. The falls come in all shapes and sizes: some wider but most ribbon-like (at a distance) and very long; some falling completely vertical and others rushing down slopes exceeding perhaps 80°; some are isolated and others appeared in groups.

The sheer volume of waterfalls was quite impressive and unique. There are waterfalls all through the rainforest from Caleta Gonzalo to Caleta Tortel, but they seem to reach their maximum point at Waterfall Bend. The only other place that came close (distant second place really, but still with far more waterfalls than anywhere else in the world that I have seen) was the drive from La Junta to the village called Puerto Raúl Marín Balmaceda. Some of them are pictured below.

Some other falls are seen through Pumalín Park (Douglas Tompkins), a bit further north.

  

You will literally see so many beautiful waterfalls that they become boring and old-hat. That fact in and of itself makes Waterfall Bend something of interest to see. Be sure to put it on your must-see list for sights in Chile.     

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

Puerto Aguirre

If you want to see what interventionism and marxism do to a society, just visit Puerto Aguirre, an island town in the middle of the vast archipelago of Chile’s 11th Region. The ferry ride out of Puerto Cisnes takes about 6 hours to arrive to this remote spot. There is also daily service to somewhat-closer Puerto Aysén.

Although not quite as bad as Melinka, people in Puerto Aguirre are really “out there” and isolated. The setting and scenery are fantastic: endless islands with interesting contours and backdrops. Sure, many other places in Chile are far more stunning, but that fact does not take away from the pretty overall environs. What does damage the place’s attractiveness is the crummy, dilapidated architecture and overall poverty. Granted, there are worse places, but Puerto Aguirre shows just how drab a place can be. It is a showcase of “equality,” where everyone is equally poor, with no “nice part” of town or even a nice home–all of which demonstrate exactly what socialism brings.

People have a rather cold attitude, too, matching the cool rainforest climate, which is quite unusual for smaller Chilean towns. Also indicative of communist societies, in the Puerto Aguirre microcosm there are few things to buy and very few stores or restaurants. According to Wikipedia and local sources, the island (including floating habitations offshore) has around a couple thousand inhabitants, but the map legend and my estimate would hardly put the figure over 500. The originals that settled the island came from Chiloé and a few from Melinka.

 
 

When I was there at the end of 2013, there was a potable water shortage. Water is collected from the abundant rainfall, which is superior in quantity to nearly any other civilized place on earth. Yet people were filling jugs and taking showers only between 2:30pm and 6:00pm because the water collective failed to maintain an adequate supply. The local transportation (minibus) operator told me that if the water company had been private there would never have been a shortage. Electric supply comes from a generator, pictured below, and can be quite expensive for anything but smaller households (which pay around US$40 per month). Internet is scarce in the town, including in the bleak residencial where we stayed near the dock. The call center office pictured was closed but the private mail and ferry service operator next door did have a computer to rent for US$2 per hour. I had to beg them to let me log into their wireless connection. I guess I should have just been happy that they at least had internet. Life on the island would be pretty dull to say the least without television or internet.

What does stand out about Puerto Aguirre is that housing is cheap. The transport operator told me that locals can buy a home (or shack) for anywhere from US$2,500 to US$6,000. Foreigners coming in could expect to pay double the price. An example of a home (yellow) at the higher end of the price range is pictured below. It had a great view.

I suppose that poorer immigrants might consider places like Puerto Aguirre. One could literally buy his place (with private water tank recommended like the one pictured below) and retire there for under US$100,000.

Before the handouts for firewood, electricity and for being in an “isolated, remote area,” Chilean people in Puerto Aguirre had to keep gardens. Nowadays they do not bother, except for some older folks that still grow potatoes. Fish and seafood are abundant and cheap, of course. But there seems to be a epidemic of laziness on the island. Why work hard when one can get handouts and still survive?

Actually, there are a lot of people earning the minimum wage (about US$375) by working in nearby offshore salmon hatcheries, which account for around 80% of local employment according to the minibus driver. He added that 10% work in island retail and services and most of the rest subsist on fishing. Driving through the few kilometers of road between the main town and the Caleta Andrade suburb one gets a good idea that people do not care much about keeping up their homes. At least the government paved the main road about 5 years ago.

The local medical care facility (image below) does not give one much confidence in being cured if he gets sick. At least the government was putting in a newer fire station. I am not sure how effective it will be if your house catches fire though.

Still, some places to live are not too bad, and the view is soothing. For people that like sailing and can put up with something like 80% rainy days, Puerto Aguirre might offer some appeal. If one does not want to be found, it certainly might be attractive. There are at least regular ferries to the mainland where one can get some access to an ATM machine, bigger stores and markets, and other amenities. I imagine that the island is not a great place to go for dating, so newcomers might best be already married or happily single.

 

The airstrip is mainly used these days by small planes owned by salmon companies to fly in workers from places like Puerto Montt. Getting to this island from other parts of the world requires a flight from Santiago to Coyhaique and then a bus to Puerto Aysén or Puerto Cisnes and finally a ferry to the island. Check the schedules carefully for the ferry.

As always, there are some happy tourists that show up to partake of the local culture and imagine what life might be like in such remote places.

Any place is worth seeing at least once!

 

 Crabbing from a fishing boat in Puerto Aguirre

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

History of Major Earthquakes in Chile

Here is a table of the worst earthquakes in Chile’s recorded history. You can do further research by clicking on this link to the source – History of Big Earthquakes in Chile

Earthquake history Chile

Sectors of Viña del Mar

Without a doubt, Viña del Mar (about 1:45 by car via superhighway WNW of northeastern Santiago) is the second most livable city in Chile. Note that when I make that claim I am not considering the many beautiful smaller Chilean towns with First World amenities reasonably close: Pucón, Zapallar, Puerto Varas, Rocas de Santo Domingo, Coyhaique or even Pica, San Félix, Vicuña (and surrounding towns), Vichuquén, Corral and Bahía Inglesa. I am referring to the most livable larger city in Chile outside of northeastern Santiago.

Viña del Mar is precisely that place, with La Serena running a distant third, followed by spots mostly in the southern and eastern parts of Concepción (as well as Pingueral) and then possibly Valdivia, Temuco and maybe Rancagua (in that order). Remember that the metro area formed by Viña del Mar and Valparaíso (Chile’s second most important port and home of the Chilean navy and Chilean Congress) has almost one million inhabitants, making it a commercial center, full of culture and attractions.

One can live and work in Viña del Mar, even though it is harder to do so than in Santiago, far more than he can in smaller regional cities in Chile. Only Concepción comes close to offering the same employment possibilities for professionals outside of Santiago.

The Viña del Mar area has three Jumbo supermarkets (if one counts the branch in Valparaíso), several Líder stores, Homecenter and Easy builder’s supermarkets and home improvement centers, all banking and medical services, car and replacement parts dealers, a hospital that is the best among the regions of Chile (the Clínica Reñaca), good bilingual private schools (Mackay and St. Margaret’s), several universities (including one of Chile’s top three engineering schools, the Universidad Federico Santa María in nearby Valparaíso), an elegant Casino, an upscale mall with a bowling alley, cinemas, good restaurants, fast food chains and most everything else one can think of.

Of course, it probably goes without saying that there are much less of these things in Viña del Mar than in northeastern Santiago. However, the level of infrastructure and amenities is more than adequate. Viña del Mar also has a better climate than Santiago, just like coastal southern California is more temperate than inland areas, with warmer winters and cooler summers (but with 7% to 19% more rainfall during the winter months).

The city seems to be full of flowers and gardens, including its famous flower clock. The people tend to be among the friendliest I have met in Chile.

Viña del Mar is a tourist city and hosts the famous Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar, where many singers and musicians begin their rise to fame. There is still felt much of the British influence from the past when the port of Valparaíso was thriving and wealthier than before the Panama Canal era. For instance, the British institute has a good English language library and one can find several Anglican churches. 

The cost of living is lower in general (by about 17.8%) than in Santiago. Comparable housing in the upper class sections of Viña del Mar is about 30% to 50% cheaper than in northeastern Santiago, as are the costs of property taxes and community fees in apartment buildings and condominios (gated communities with common areas). Maid service is cheaper, too, along with public transportation costs (metro, bus, train).

Busses leave for Santiago every 10 minutes from downtown Viña del Mar, making the big city very accessible for just a few dollars. The air is far cleaner in Viña del Mar than Santiago, there is much less noise (other than the constant sound of rolling waves for homes near the shore) and, outside of the dreadful summer months, less traffic congestion.

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On the hills above the city, one will find good ocean views looking one way and mountain views the other. Many pine forests run along the hills overlooking the coastline and there are areas with significant sand dunes just to the north in Reñaca and above Concón. Viña del Mar (up through Concón) features the interesting phenomenon of something like 90% vacancy in the thousands of apartments during the non-summer months, other than long weekends and holidays. Most of the beachfront apartments are owned by upper class people in Santiago, as are some a little bit further inland, although most of those tend to be owned by year-round residents.

Housing is well defined by sectors of Viña del Mar, which are strikingly more distinct than in Santiago. One can drive twenty kilometers in Santiago’s upper class area before seeing much in the way of lower or lower middle class housing. The same is not true in Viña del Mar that has abrupt and obvious distinctions. Immigrants from the First World should know before hand where to look, avoiding areas not highlighted in this article, and bearing in mind that apartments and housing closer to the shore will usually carry a much higher cost per square meter than interior properties. 

The main section just north of downtown is no more than 15 square blocks, along with the older part west of downtown called El Plan. It is an elegant area, located mainly between Avenida 1 Norte and Avenida 15 Norte, west of Avenida Libertad to the beach, full of apartment buildings, a mall, banks, pharmacies, private hospitals, automobile dealers, restaurants, the Casino, services and nice stores. Buildings range from 5 to 80 years old, with newer part being on the northern subsection near Avenida 15 Norte.

A second section of town, housing the “old wealth” much like the comuna of Providencia does in Santiago, is called Miraflores Bajo. It is located further inland (just past the famous horse racing track), with some of the homes going up the hill having views, but nothing spectacular. Some of the homes are elegant and well kept, with nice gardens, with larger ones being 350 square meters (around 3,750 square feet) for around US$600,000. It boasts its own hospital and fire station, too.


2013-10-25 16.32.15

2013-10-25 16.32.19

 

Other sectors include areas of newer apartments east and south of the central district’s seashore, hillside sectors called Recreo and Agua Santa, as well as basin sectors called Avenida Álvarez (and Avenida Vianna) and some of Avenida 1 Norte. I do not care for these areas as much as others, even though they are usually cheaper for the same quality, because the surrounding properties are either older or often not well kept up, the views are not always as good, and they are further from amenities and job sites or many business opportunities.

Nevertheless, bargain-hunters and future-looking buyers might consider them. Small, newer apartments can be had for under US$150,000. Like Miraflores Bajo, Avenida Álvarez and Avendia 1 Norte have an important advantage of being close to the Jumbo superstore and quick superhighway access.

The fastest-growing and thus most popular affluent sections of Viña del Mar fall along the north side of the ocean crescent and several miles inland from the shore. These communities include scenic places like Reñaca (right on the beach with stair step apartments and homes lining the adjacent hillsides), with easy beach access, easy shopping access, wonderful views and ocean sounds, but horrible traffic in January and February.

More popular among year-round residents are the communities directly inland, often with hillside sea views, pine or eucalyptus forests and mountain views to the east. The oldest of these in Jardín del Mar, mostly built in the 1980s and 1990s, but new construction is still going on, with many smaller (140 square meters or about 1,500 square foot) homes and apartments selling from US$200,000 to US$300,000. There are also larger homes priced near half a million dollars. The main branch of the Clínica Reñaca is in this section and the northwestern viewscapes are wonderful from just about everywhere.

Across the valley is a new, perhaps slightly more elegant section called Los Almendros, although prices do not seem much different. Much of the building quality is the same, but some spots do not have ocean views. One does see larger homes here and fewer apartments, and there are some gated communities with cookie cutter homes that are not found on the other side of the valley. Electrical and phone wiring are also buried on this side, making views better than from many homes in Jardín del Mar.

Finally, there is the ever-expanding section that bleeds north into Concón from Reñaca, called Bosques de Montemar. This section is residential and much like Vitacura or La Dehesa (in Santiago). Most have only views of the impressive sand dunes except for housing going up the hills toward the pines that have broad ocean views. Some of the homes are much larger and prices tend to be 20% higher in these neighborhoods than they are in parts of Los Almendros and Jardín del Mar. (Of course, it is hard to generalize such things!) The sector is also loaded with many 20 to 35 story luxury apartment buildings, some right on the cliffs overlooking the sea below. These apartments tend to be very elegant and range in price from US$250,000 to US$800,000. There are Jumbo, Líder Express, Easy, Construmart and Monserrat superstores nearby, along with St. Margaret’s private school for girls and a couple of service stations.

One thing that has struck me time and again is the relative lack of mansions and estates in Viña del Mar. Sure, there are some elegant and exclusive spots. But the real concentration of wealth in Chile is clearly in Santiago.

However, looking to the future, Viña del Mar is set to continue its expansion into greater prosperity and progress. Those who settle there will enjoy a higher quality of life in many ways over Santiago and a good chance for future gains in property values. If you want to bet on Chile’s future, besides Santiago, mining areas and farmland, Viña del Mar should be a prime consideration.

Chileans I have spoken with consider that Viña del Mar is Chile’s best overall city to live in. In many ways, I think they are right. I have been in every part of Chile, and it is hard to think of any other place that ticks all the boxes like Viña del Mar does. Every immigrant should have a plan to check it out.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

 

 

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